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1  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Today at 04:54 AM
Because of gerrymandering, it is unlikely the House will flip, but it is quite likely the Dems will regain control of the Senate, especially if the "Bernie Wave" should by some miracle occur. The map of the Senate is the exact opposite this round of what it was in the last election. It is the GOP that is defending 24 seats this time, several of them in very blue states. It remains to be seen what Bernie's foreign policy will look like, but his domestic agenda is supported by large majorities ( in the 65-75% range) across the board. The Progressive swing in this country has been ready to explode since the '04 election, but the Dems have managed to let the GOP define the issues for the last two mid-terms, and those who would catalyze the explosion have stayed home. Remeber, only 18% of Americans voted for the GOP wave in 2014. Bernie may get them out. If so, watch out. We could see a rising America again.
2  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 29, 2015, 05:05AM
Russ,
Remember that when it comes to our gun rights or political finance laws as well.

Heller, McDonald and Citizens United are here to stay. Live with it and stop complaining. :-P

I do, each and every day, although thanks to Heller, a whole lot of Americans don't get the opportunity to "live with it". And, rather than complaining, I am actively doing what I can to elect candidates that will give us a SCOTUS that more closely resembles the ideals and beliefs of a large majority of AMericans.
3  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 28, 2015, 09:46AM
Passage of the Civil rights legislation was done on a bi-partisan basis by Republicans AND Democrats despite opposition from the South by memebers of BOTH parties. After its passage the bigots in the south blolted from the Democrat Party and gave the south to the GOP. It is why Reagan was able to give our government back to the 1% after they had been exiled for causing the Great Depression.

As for "Yay for mob rule!", what Happy Excrement of Equine Origin. THe Constitution guarantees against tyranny of the majority or the minority. It ensures laws will meet the strictures and guidlines outlined in its body, as interpreted by the SCOTUS of the day. Live with it.
4  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 26, 2015, 09:41AM
Let's not forget that at one point the SCOTUS also upheld slavery, segregation, and Japanese internment. The members of the court are not sages with infinite wisdom and no law is here to stay. It is a disastrous law that has personally reeked havoc on my healthcare situation and forced me to pay a lot more for dramatically less coverage to the point I had to drop my coverage. I have a great disdain for those people who dance with joy over my loss of coverage due to rising costs. Like slavery, Obamacare will one day fall either under its own wait or when a rational court revisits the fact that inactivity in commerce is NOT commerce and therefore can not be taxed. As long as our nation continues to ignore basic liberty and freedom I have less and less desire to see our nation prosper as it robs from me through taxes to pay for things that hurt my life and are contrary to my convictions.

Or that they ruled any American is entitled to private ownership of a firearm without restriction and that unlimited money in our politics is just fine. No, they are not sages, and hopefully future courts will correct some of their misguided judgements. But, for now, they are the law of the land, including today's righteous decision on marriage equality. I feel your pain with the ACA the same way I feel the pain of homeowners who lose their property to Imminent Domain when it is needed for mass transit or Interstate highways. Anytime there is a great advancement in social justice there are people who are negatively impacted, and it sucks to be one of them. But, in the overall progess of society, well, "**** happens". The number of people negatively impacted by this, long overdue, law is dwarfed by the number who are benefitting from its provisions. I am sorry for you, and happy for my country. I hope we can now move forward and fix the myriad of things about the law that are less than optimal rather than continuing the wasteful fight over its necessity and efficacy.
5  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 26, 2015, 09:11AM

Pres. Johnson stated "We will have those (N-words) voting Democrat for a hundred years" when he signed the Republican passes civil rights act.


He also said, "I fear I have lost the south to our party for a generation." He was wrong by at least one generation, and it is why the GOp has been able to give the government back to the rich and undo all the progress that was made after the GOp was thrown out on their asses after they caused the Great Depression.
6  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 25, 2015, 04:55PM
Back home.

Legacy Week

It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks……. I am having a hard time making up my mind. But, for President Obama, it may have been the best week of his Presidency.

Today, (Thurs) the SCOTUS issued a decision upholding, again, the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, previously known as Obamacare. (You can bet Republicans will stop calling it that now that it is unquestionably here to stay.) Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority (6-3) opinion himself.

In the opinion, Roberts used the dissenting words Conservative Justices used in the 2012 case that upheld the individual mandate. “Without the federal subsidies . . . the exchanges would not operate as Congress intended and may not operate at all.” Roberts used this phrase to rule that while the wording may have been ambiguous, even the dissenting Justices recognized Congress’ intent.

I would assume there was Snoopy dancing going on in the White House and Democrat halls of Congress on hearing the news. This was a long awaited vindication and validation of this law that is having a positive effect on tens of millions of Americans.

 However, earlier in the week, it was the President dancing with Republicans over, what I consider to be disastrous, the passage of Fast Track Authority for the President for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Democrats had originally stood up to the President on this issue, voting down the authority in both the House and the Senate just last week. It is hard to understand how 13 Democrat Senators, our own Bill Nelson among them, voted in favor of a pact which has been negotiated in secrecy, thats contents are unknown, and has been opposed every, single labor organization, as well as many environmental protection, social justice, and religious organizations.

One thing is certain. It was a huge win for the Corporate World (there’s really no longer any such thing as “Corporate America”) and the Wall Street bankers who support it. It was also, probably, a really big loss for American workers and American jobs.

There is a “Training Assistance Adjustment” bill that is supposed to help re-train workers who lose jobs to the TPP, but what jobs are they to be re-trained for? Those jobs will be in the Pacific rim.

It was a big week for President Obama’s legacy. For the rest of us? Maybe not so much.
7  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 18, 2015, 10:07AM
Amen.
8  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 17, 2015, 12:41AM
I hate to keep spending so much time there, but, once again.....

KANSAS

In 1981, and again in 1986, Ronald Reagan gave the largest tax breaks in American history to the wealthiest Americans, reducing the top marginal income tax brackets from 70% to 28%. Then, when those tax cuts blew an entirely inevitable and predictable hole in the budget, he raised taxes 11 times, each of the raises moving the burden of taxation further down the income ladder.

The slow, bleeding death of the American middle-class and the income inequality that exists in this country today can be followed directly back to those decisions and the "voodoo, trickle-down, Reaganomics" that the GOP has steadfastly continued to force through Congress anytime they have control despite more than ample evidence of their destructive nature. I've seen it called "Zombie" economics because it just refuses to die.

We are seeing an end case example of this process in the on-going train wreck that is Kansas. Governor Sam Brownback's primary objective on entering office was to enact Reaganesque tax cuts for the wealthiest Kansans and their businesses, with the ever present promises of unlimited economic growth, rainbows, and unicorns. Of course, the utterly predictable and inevitable occurred, and Kansas now faces a budget with massive holes in it and shortfalls approaching a billion dollars.

So, how are the Republicans addressing the disaster they have inflicted on the good people of Kansas? The same way they always do, by raising the tax burden on the middle class and the poor. They are plugging the hole their giveaway to the wealthy created by raising the sales tax and the cigarette tax, both of which have a significantly larger effect on the middle-class and the poor.

The Kansas GOP has also recently passed unnecessary, mean spirited restrictions on how Kansans in need can utilize the debit cards they receive to access their public assistance benefits. These cards are managed through banks who take a fee from the benefits. The new restrictions result in a significant transfer of public dollars from those who need them most into the coffers of the banks. Really, Kansas?

It amazes me how so many Americans can, in the face of such insurmountable evidence, continue to buy into the failed economic policies that remain at the center of GOP dogma. And, yet, we continue to hear ALL of the GOP Presidential contenders riding the Reagan train. We deserve better.

Wake up, America!
9  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 12, 2015, 11:24PM
It's going to be fun to watch this play out. The GOP In NH rebelled against the concept of FAUX picking the nominee from their slate. FAUX responded immediately, but there is also a rift between the NH GOP and the national party on how they are going to make this happen. Maybe it's a sign that some in the GOP are finally waking and starting to see through the fog, but I am not too hopeful.
10  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Cover Your Balls, America! on: Jun 12, 2015, 12:59PM
It seems these days there is no such thing as a good candidate, just ones that are good at covering up their sh%t.

Well, there is Bernie Sanders. He's about as squeaky clean as any politician in the last 100 years. And he has an agenda that is EXACTLY what America needs right now.
11  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 12, 2015, 12:24AM
The Sanders' Agenda

The prevailing wisdom amongst the mainstream media is that Hillary Clinton is the inevitable nominee for President of the Democratic Party in the 2016 election, and that Bernie Sanders is a bit of a gadfly with no real chance of being a serious contender. While that may turn out to be the case, current events seem to be telling a different story.

Bernie's rallies in early primary states are drawing overflow crowds that swamp those of any of the other candidates of either party, and a recent poll of Democrats in Wisconsin show him trailing Clinton by only 8 points. That is not a comfortable margin for an "inevitable" candidate at this early stage.

It is possible, actually, probable, that this early excitement for Sander's candidacy will be overwhelmed by the money and corporate media that will support Clinton and the eventual GOP nominee in the same way Ron Paul's was in 2012. But, Sanders' positions on a broad range of issues are supported by enormous majorities of the American populace. Paul's popularity was achieved on a far more narrow agenda. Can Bernie get his message out over the indifference of the corporate media? Time will tell.

Examples include:

Raising taxes on those at the top to pay for infrastructure and social programs - 68% of Americans agree.

Closing offshore tax loopholes - 85% of small businesses would like to see corporate loopholes closed, while 68% of Americans would like to see all offshore loopholes closed.

Instituting a "carbon tax" to combat global climate change - 64% support.

Making college tuition free for qualified students - 63% support two years of free community college. No polling has been done on a full 4 year program as of yet.

Opposes fast track authority for the TPC - 62% of Americans agree.

Raising the Minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 - 63% support.

The list goes on. Other areas of Sanders' agenda that garner widespread support include breaking up the "too big to fail" banks, expansion of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and nutrition programs, single payer health care, making it easier for workers to unionize, and, especially, getting big money out of politics.

This is the outline of a domestic agenda that hits a grand slam for the working people of America. While it remains to be seen where Sanders will come down on foreign affairs, if he can get this domestic agenda before the American people, he will be a formidable opponent not only for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, but as the Democratic nominee in the general election.
12  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Cover Your Balls, America! on: Jun 12, 2015, 12:23AM
Life's a *****,  let not elect one too!

Sadly, she will almost certainly be the best choice, by orders of magnitude, we are offered.
13  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jun 03, 2015, 03:40AM
Another one from Tuscany:

WEDC

I recently did a column describing the disaster "GOP Tax Policies Gone Wild" have inflicted on the people of Kansas. It has only gotten worse as many school districts have had to close early for the summer because they have run out of money. (Think about what that says about GOP priorities) The Kansas case is extreme, but it is not out of the norm for what's going on in states with GOP legislatures.

Another crystal clear example of the typical disaster GOP governance burdens its people with is playing out in Wisconsin. In the Dairy State, Gov. Scott Walker, is shoveling as fast as he can to stay ahead of multiple ethics and campaign finance investigations. The SCOTUS just refused to hear one case attempting to halt one of the many investigations into his political skullduggery.

Another one involves the Governor's privatization of the State's Commerce Dept. In his first year in office, Walker turned the responsibilities of the dept. over to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a "semi-private" corporation with him as its CEO. Since that day the corporation has done little of value for the State while making tremendous messes with its finances and obligations.

A 2013 audit done by the non-partisan State Audit Bureau determined that the WEDC had given millions of dollars to companies that were ineligible to receive them, for projects that were not eligible to receive them, and in amounts that exceeded specified legal limits. The Corporation had lost track of millions of dollars of loans, never asking that they be repaid, and the Federal Housing Authority accused it of spending federal funds without authorization.

A recently completed audit shows that, not only has the WEDC not corrected its past deficiencies, things have actually gotten worse. In addition to all the financial issues, the Corporation is massively underperforming in its mission to create jobs. Independent reviews of WEDC claims of the number of jobs created are more than double the reality, and the agency is taking credit for jobs created before awards were given or for jobs that weren't actually created, but were "impacted".

Throw in some questionable loans made to failing businesses run by Walker contributors and you get a picture of the ineptitude and crony capitalism that is the norm for the privatization passion of the GOP. When will Americans wake up and realize the GOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the worst of the top >.01%?
14  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 28, 2015, 11:21PM
Writing from The Tuscan countryside, so wi-fi has been scarce. This week's effort:

Pope Francis


Just as many Republicans have put party before country in their irrational hatred of President Obama, it now appears that Catholic Republicans are having to decide whether they are going to place party before church in their choice of allegiance. Pope Francis has put forth a decidedly Progressive doctrine for followers of Catholicism that is in direct contradiction to many basic tenets of the GOP.

Conservatives have long (always?) been Olympic grade contortionists in their capacity to twist logic to fit their ideologies, and watching the Catholic members of the 2016 GOP clown car try to reconcile their positions with those espoused by the new Holy Father is nothing new. That said, it does provide yet another window through which to view the hypocrisy at the core of Conservative politics.

Christian Conservatives, of all denominations, have always cherry-picked the sections of the Bible and, especially, New Testament they choose to follow in a manner that shames the Bush administration's cherry-picking of intelligence in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. Pope Francis is now calling Catholics out on that cherry-picking in no uncertain terms.

Pick an area of Conservative doctrine:

Universal healthcare

Income/ wealth inequality

Corporatism

Denial of human impact on global climate change

Recognition of a Palestinian State

Normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba

In all of these areas, as well as many others, this new Pope is advancing positions for followers of the faith that are in direct opposition to the core doctrines and policies of the Republican Party. In persons with open minds and open hearts this would lead to soul searching and a re-alignment of beliefs, but I suspect that is highly unlikely to be a common occurrence among the ideologues that make up today's Republican Party.

We have already heard Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush distancing themselves from the Pontiff, drawing a line between the man and the position. That will become harder to do over time as the Pope issues new (CYCLICALS) like the upcoming one on climate change and the environment. At that point, those will be the positions of the church, not the man.

We have long seen those on the right pummel Catholics like John Kerry for their positions on women's rights. We will now get to see if they are willing to walk the walk when it comes to adherence to their faith. We will probably see acts more worthy of Dancing With The Stars.
15  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 16, 2015, 11:56AM
From a Canadian Press piece:

"When asked whether the government was planning a takeover of Texas, 32 per cent of self-identified Republican primary voters replied, "Yes." Forty per cent said no, according to the Public Policy poll of 1,285 respondents. The likeliest to respond in the affirmative were supporters of the presidential candidacies of Sen. Ted Cruz (56 per cent) and ex-governor Rick Perry (76 per cent)."

Believers, asked who was behind the plot, named Obama (who, as you know, hates America) and communists (can you name 3, and I'll give you Putin).

THere have always been idiots in Texas, but when I left there they weren't running the place. I am SSOOO proud to be an EX-Texan these days.
16  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 15, 2015, 10:42AM
He was also working with a Congress controlled by progressive Democrats. THat is the single most reliable factor in determining whether a Congress will get things done that benefit the majority of Americans.
17  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 14, 2015, 10:17AM
INFRASTRUCTURE

The state of our infrastructure here in the “Good Ol’ US of A” is a joke. Not only are we not building the new infrastructure it is going to take to be competitive in this 21st Century, we are not updating the infrastructure our parents and grandparents built for us up to keep it current with modern capabilities. Heck, we’re not even “doing the regular work” necessary to keep the infrastructure functional at the level it performed to when it was built.
 
Roads and bridges are just one area one can look at to see how bad we, as a society, are failing ourselves. There are currently 9900 bridges in the United States that are over 100 years old. According to the DOT there are more than 70,000 bridges that have been classified as “structurally deficient”.
 
Millions of motorists cross those bridges each and every day. It is only by chance we have not had many recurrences of the disastrous collapse of the I-35 bridge across the Mississippi River in Minnesota in 2007. That collapse killed 13 people and injured another 145. The rate of bridge failures is escalating.

According to Timothy Galarnyk, CEO of Construction Risk Management, there were 31 bridge failures in the US between 1980 and 2009, an average of one every 8 months. From 2010 to mid-2012 there were 27 bridge collapses, an average of one a month. Our infrastructure is, literally, crumbling under our collective feet.
 
In the 1950’s, Dwight Eisenhower funded and began the process of building the Interstate Highway system that links our great country from shore to shore and border to border. During his administration we were also building the roads and airports and hospitals, etc., that made American infrastructure the envy of the world.
 
It was possible because he instituted a rational tax system that re-claimed a reasonable portion of OUR GDP from those at the very top and re-invested it in our society. We quit doing that with the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980’s. Now, instead of building and maintaining what we need to be a world class nation, that portion of our GDP is going into tax havens.
 
Our new GOP Congress has voted to repeal the Estate Tax, costing the Treasury over $270B in the next ten years, and then cut $260M from the Amtrak budget. We get what we vote for, folks.
 
Wake up, America!
18  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 12, 2015, 05:57AM

 they've left us no choice but to give them their way and let them take credit.


Again, YIKES! WOW, The terrorists have their guns to our head. We have no choice but to give them their way and let them take credit. God help us. So, we have to let them drive us completely off the cliff and into another World War before we throw their asses out like we did in the 1930's? I pray it doesn't come to that.

19  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 11, 2015, 05:52AM

 I'd take Jeb over HIllary,


YIkes!! He has staffed his foreign policy team with all the idiots from his brothers regime, and has stated his brother will be his go to guy for issues involving the Middle East. If he were the re=incarnation of FDR that would be enough to keep me from voting for him. And, that's before you even start to look at the disastrous tax and economic policies he would favor.
20  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 01, 2015, 06:17PM
I'm not forgetting that--she would have been a better choice than Obama. Everyone seems to get nominated one election past their pull date, like McCain.

She would have lost to McCain and Caribou Barbie. Where the Frak would we be now if that had happened.

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